Philadelphia 76ers look to answer back with a win in Game 2 vs. Miami Heat

NBA Philadelphia 76ers Tyrese Maxey (Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports)
NBA Philadelphia 76ers Tyrese Maxey (Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Philadelphia 76ers need to punch back in Game 2 vs. Miami Heat. 

The Miami Heat took care of business in Game 1 vs. the Philadelphia 76ers, with a 106-92 victory. Joel Embiid’s presence on both offense and defense were certainly missed last night. Philly is a different team when he is not playing, and the Heat took advantage of that.

Being down one game early in the series is not an issue for the Sixers. They will need to dig deep to come out with a win in Game 2. They need more scoring from Maxey and Harden, along with the rest of the team contributing however they can.

It will take a serious team effort to even up the series.

Not having Embiid this late in the playoffs is a killer for the 76ers. Every game is crucial in a seven-game series. The big man did not travel with the team for Game 1 or 2, but a return for Games 3 and 4 in Philly has not been ruled out yet.

Consistent scoring seems to be an issue for the 76ers when Embiid does not play. Philly shot 43 percent from the field and 90 percent from the free-throw line, both solid averages for a team. What held them back was an absolutely horrific 18 percent shooting from the three-point line, going 6-34. James Harden made two of those six three-pointers.

The 76ers need their star players to take on the challenge and answer back in Game 2. Tobias Harris led all scorers with 27 points, ten points higher than his 17.2 season average. That was the kind of game that they needed from Harris, but a poor shooting night from deep really held Philly back.

James Harden’s scoring duties have regressed in his past two NBA seasons. With the Brooklyn Nets, he became more of a distributor, and that has stayed true for his time in Philly. Harden averages 22.0 points per game for the regular season, and they need at least that, if not more, in Game 2 and beyond.

Another player who did not play to his full potential in Game 1 was Tyrese Maxey. He exploded for 38 points in Game 1 of their opening-round matchup vs. the Toronto Raptors. Since that game, he’s only gone over 20 points two more times.

Maxey went 1-6 from deep, and he is capable of a much better game than that. I expect Maxey to step up and have a much bigger impact offensively in Game 2. Philly’s bench was also almost non-existent in Game 1, with only three players scoring over four points. The whole team will need to play better to win the next game.

Miami and Philadelphia had very similar numbers shooting the basketball. The Heat shot 44 percent from the field and went 95 percent from the free-throw line. Like the 76ers, Miami had a rough night from deep, going 9-36, or 25 percent.

The Heat had more rebounds and assists than the 76ers, and that will always be a deciding factor in a playoff game. Leading Miami in scoring last night was Tyler Herro with 25 points, going 4-6 from the three-point line.

Right behind Herro was Bam Adebayo, who scored 24 points, along with 12 rebounds and four assists. Philly had no answer for Adebayo all game long. Embiid’s presence down low was sorely missed when Bam was getting almost any shot he wanted.

Kyle Lowry missed Game 1 with a hamstring injury, but Miami was still able to win by a double-digit margin. No news of a return has come out yet, but this was his third consecutive game missed.

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has a great rotation of players he can use in any game. He only used 10 players in Game 1, and eight of those 10 players all played 21 or more minutes.

The 76ers are going to need a stellar performance in Game 2 if they want to win. Not having Joel Embiid is a huge loss, but they need to dig deep if they want their playoff hopes alive. Miami will certainly look to edge themselves closer to the Conference Finals.

Next. Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks: 3 things to watch for in Game 2. dark

Game 2 is this Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. EST, on TNT. Philadelphia needs their star players to all to contribute to a team win, as the Heat look to take control of the series. Can the Sixers find a way to win, or is Miami no match for them without Embiid?